National Transportation Safety Board board member Earl Weener speaks during a news conference alongside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, at the scene of a Metro-North passenger train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The train derailed on a curved section of track in the Bronx on Sunday morning, coming to rest just inches from the water and causing multiple fatalities and dozens of injuries, authorities said. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City commuter train rounding a riverside curve derailed Sunday, killing four people and injuring more than 60 in a crash that threw some riders from toppling cars and swiftly raised questions about whether excessive speed, mechanical problems or human error could have played a role.
Some of the roughly 150 passengers on the early morning Metro-North train from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan were jolted from sleep around 7:20 a.m. to screams and the frightening sensation of their compartment rolling over on a bend in the Bronx where the Hudson and Harlem rivers meet. When the motion stopped, all seven cars and the locomotive had lurched off the rails, and the lead car was only inches from the water. It was the latest accident in a troubled year for the nation’s second-biggest commuter railroad, which had never experienced passenger death in an accident in its 31-year history.
Joel Zaritsky was dozing as he traveled to a dental convention aboard the train. He woke up to feel his car overturning several times.
“Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming,” he told The Associated Press, holding his bloody right hand. “There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train.”